Friday, April 29, 2016

Adult Education for Your Vegas Vacation

Not that there aren’t things to learn from visiting a Strip nightclub, but some Las Vegas visitors are looking for more substantial skills to take home with them. With these tourists in mind, we’ve compiled a list of luxury vacation skills you can learn while staying in Las Vegas. We threw in some of those nightclub skills as well.

TPC Las Vegas golf lessons

Golf Lessons

Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Red Rock Canyon, this PGA Tour sanctioned Tournament Players Club is the premier course in Glitter Gulch. The quality of TPC Las Vegas is matched only by its certified golf instructors. The club is one of only five permanent TOURAcademy locations in the United States, offering prestigious golf instruction programs open to the public. Programs include one-, two- and three-day “Lite Training” sessions that include personalized instruction, comprehensive student manual and written game plans for success. “Elite Training” programs are also available and include rounds of golf.

Free craps lessonsCraps Lessons

You want to walk up to the table and throw some bones, but a crowded craps table can be as intimidating as an underground cock fighting pit in a foreign country; the gamblers seem to be speaking a different language and its never certain what you’re wagering on. Luckily, most of the major casinos on the Las Vegas Strip offer free lessons for would-be shooters. The Venetian, for example, will teach new players the ins and outs of the popular game for free. Those interested should head to the tables in The Venetian’s main gaming area Mondays through Fridays at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. You can also enjoy comped drinks while you learn. Be sure to tip the dealers. It’s polite, and who couldn’t use a little positive karma on the tables.

Cooking Classes

Las Vegas is renowned for its vast collection of culinary delights. We’re talking Michelin stars on Michelin stars here. So why not tap into the fountain of epicurean knowledge that is Sin City? Bellagio offers visitors the rare chance to cook alongside its executive chefs. This year’s courses lean toward classic dishes such as lobster bisque, beef wellington and Thanksgiving dinner. The instruction is hands-on and intimate. Executive chefs-in-training are provided their own cooking station and all tools and ingredients needed. The 20-person cap on these classes ensures some one-on-one instruction.

Pole dancing lessons on the Strip

Pole Dancing Classes

A trip to Las Vegas can’t be all snooty wine tastings and country club fare. Get a little sinful with some pole dancing lessons from the good folks at Night School 4 Girls. Perfect for bachelorette parties and ladies’ nights, you’ll learn some useful vacation skills to take home from actual Las Vegas strippers. All attendees receive a NS4G goodie bag and t-shirt. Premium packages include passes to some of the Strip’s hottest nightclubs, so you can take those new moves to the streets!

Race exotic cars in Las VegasExotic Car Racing

There’s not much more luxurious than the feeling of firing up a 500+ horsepower Lamborghini for a few hot laps around a private road course. Exotics Racing is here to take your driving skills to the next level. Drivers can choose from a variety of exotic super cars like the Aston Martin Vantage GT, Audi R8, Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo. After a brief instructional meeting, you’ll get five laps on the 1.2-mile road course to push these impressive machines to the limit. Transportation to and from the racetrack is provided for guests of most major Strip resorts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Put a Little Zip in Your Vegas Trip

What could be better than careening a half mile from mountain top to mountain top at 60 mph suspended only from a metal cable? Add some adrenaline to your Las Vegas vacation with these three zip line attractions.

FlightLinez Bootleg Canyon

“But VegasDaze, I’m a hardcore zip liner! Where can I find the ultimate zip line experience in Las Vegas?” We’re glad you asked! FlightLinez Bootleg Canyon is located only 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and only 10 minutes north of the Hoover Dam. Riders can zip down four separate lines, zig-zagging across scenic Bootleg Canyon at 3,800 feet above sea level. The first run, one of the shorter of the four, travels 1,852 feet at a 17 percent grade and reaches speeds of 60 mph. Not for the faint of heart. Riders can even elect to fly at night!


At about 2 cents per foot, SlotZilla in Downtown Las Vegas is practically a steal. Riders of the upper “Zoomline” fly super hero-style 1,750 feet down the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian promenade. The line runs just below the Viva Vision Light Show canopy and 114 feet above the crowds, passing world famous casinos such as Golden Nugget, Binion’s Gambling Hall, Four Queens and The D. Be sure to time your ride to coincide with the light show, which begins at the top of every hour starting at dusk. There are also some pretty snazzy t-shirts for sale at the SlotZilla ticket office.

VooDoo ZipLine

If flying through the city with nothing between the asphalt and your belly but a nylon harness is not your style, check out the VooDoo ZipLine at Rio. The unique take on zip lining features two-person, chair lift-style seating. It carries passengers 800 feet from the top of the 50-story Masquerade Tower to the casino’s Ipanema Tower and back again. At only 33 mph, it’s geared more toward sightseers than thrill seekers. Passengers are afforded stunning 360-degree views of the Strip and surrounding Las Vegas Valley. Rio even offers a free shuttle service to guests of Strip hotels!

Friday, April 22, 2016

New Things to Come for Wynn, Las Vegas Strip

It’s been a while since resort mogul Steve Wynn built anything in Las Vegas. His last project, Encore, the sister property to Wynn, opened nearly a decade ago. He’s about to make up for lost time.
Model of proposed "Paradise Park" project     Courtesy: Wynn Resorts Ltd.

During a presentation to investors earlier this month, Wynn proposed a new project tentatively called Paradise Park. The 38-acre lagoon will boast water skiing, parasailing, convention space, a 1,000-room hotel, casino and a nightly fireworks display. Wynn compared the development to Disney attractions during his speech to investors, according to the initial Bloomberg report.

The entire “beach resort” would be constructed on top of the site that is currently Wynn Golf Club, just to the east of Wynn and Encore. Formerly the Desert Inn Golf Club, the Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole course played host to the PGA Tour Tournament of Champions from 1953 to 1966. The managing director of Desert Inn broke conventions of the time by allowing Sammy Davis, Jr. to play the course whenever in town. Golfers visiting Las Vegas can still reserve tee times through this summer.

The project is estimated to cost the company upwards of $1.6 billion, but experts project it to bring in between roughly $300 million and $400 million annually, a large increase from the golf course’s annual earnings of approximately $5 million. The proposed largest man-made lagoon in the country is also expected to use less water than the golf course, up to 30 times less.

The lagoon itself is expected to be 10 acres in size. A 1-mile boardwalk and sandy beaches will rim the water feature. There are also plans to include a 120-square-foot island with its own beaches and palm trees.

Wynn’s proposal is still in need of approval from his company’s board of directors, but tentatively the attraction is set for a 2020 opening. Browse to book tickets to current Las Vegas attractions and more.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Las Vegas Convention Survival Guide

Las Vegas hosts thousands of conventions every year. Between convention activities, after-hours shows, gambling and other fun pursuits, you’re sure to have an exhilarating experience. The following tips will help you prepare for your busy week:

The Las Vegas Strip at dusk
Wear Comfortable Shoes
You’ll be doing plenty of walking, so comfortable shoes are a must. The Las Vegas Strip is walk-able, but the buildings seem closer together than when you’re actually walking the four-mile stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard. The average convention goer walks nearly 4 miles per day, so if your shoes are less than comfortable, you’ll soon have aching feet and possibly blisters. Bring a pair of dressier shoes in your suitcase for a special dinner or other event, but wear comfortable shoes for the majority of your trip.

Dress in Layers
Dressing in layers lets you prepare for any type of weather and indoor tempera
ture. Las Vegas can be blazing hot in the summer, but layers will prepare you for colder rooms in air-conditioned convention centers and hotels.

Pack Snacks
Packing some snacks will help you save time and money throughout your trip. Slip a granola bar, small bag of almonds, or similar healthy snacks into your bag. This will help you keep your energy up throughout the entire day, a must since you’re likely to be on the go until the evening. Just make sure your snack isn’t chocolate, since you could end up with a melted mess!

Even though you may do a lot of walking in Vegas, you'll probably also do a lot of sitting! From the plane ride to lengthy meetings, you may find yourself sitting for long periods of time. In addition to walking, visit your hotel’s fitness center or watch fitness videos in your room to get a quick workout in. If you’re exercising outside, wear plenty of sunscreen and not overdo it.

Bring your Chargers
You’ll need access to your phone throughout your trip, and you may need to  your bring laptop in the convention center. Don’t assume either will hold a charge for an entire day. Bring your phone and laptop chargers with you so your devices will work at all times. Some convention centers will have mobile phone charging stations, but the lines are likely to be long.

If you’ve visiting Las Vegas for a convention, call Vegas Daze at 1-855-895-3293 or 702-851-3293. From Las Vegas shows to thrill rides, we’ll find activities to make your trip a memorable one.

Friday, April 15, 2016

CityCenter is a Green Tourist's Dream

Global tourism accounts for 5 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. For every one day a traveler stays in a hotel, some estimates suggest enough fossil fuels are burned to release approximately 33 pounds of carbon dioxide, the leading cause of global warming, into the atmosphere. The green tourism movement is striving to put a dent in those figures. It’s a capitalistic approach to reducing the global tourism industry’s carbon footprint. Green tourists protest with their feet, opting to travel and lodge with environmentally friendly businesses.

Aria is the centerpiece of CityCenter, located in the heart of the Strip.
CityCenter is one Las Vegas Strip property getting in on the act. The $8.4 billion brainchild of MGM Resorts and Dubai World is the world’s largest private green development by far. CityCenter as a whole and its various entities (Aria Resort & Casino’s hotel tower, convention center and theater; Vdara Hotel & Spa; Mandarin Oriental; Veer Towers and The Shops at Crystals) have all received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) “Gold Certification” from the U.S. Green Building Council, virtually unheard of with regards to such large urban developments.

It’s almost unbelievable the lengths to which the properties go to maintain this coveted status. For starters, CityCenter boasts the Strip’s first on-site 8.5 megawatt, natural gas co-generation plant, providing efficient electricity to the casino and hotel rooms, reducing emissions and using "waste heat" to provide hot water to the rooms and pools. Aria employs the world’s first fleet of limousines powered by compressed natural gas. The casino utilizes slot machine bases that serve as displacement ventilation units, efficiently cooling guests from the ground up, rather than wasting energy on empty space by cooling from the ceiling.

What guests of Aria and other CityCenter hotels will appreciate most is the technology present in every room. When guests leave a room, lights are automatically turned off, curtains close, the television is turned off and the climate control settings revert back to a preset temperature. These built-in features provide a savings equivalent to powering 8,800 households annually, according to MGM Resorts.

While most can agree that reducing carbon emissions is important, many people do not actively strive toward a reduction. That’s the beauty of staying at a hotel like Aria. The carbon emission reduction happens automatically. Setting aside the environmentalism for a moment, a stay at Aria is just plain luxurious. For the environmentally conscious, the choice seems clear.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The New Generation of Strip Development

For decades the Las Vegas Strip has gotten by with neon facades and pirate ships, but recent additions to the 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard have upped the aesthetic ante. The architectural designs of newcomers such as Wynn, Vdara and Cromwell have raised visitors’ expectations of Vegas megaresorts. Aria is one property that took this trend to new heights with its exterior design and public artwork throughout.

From the waterfall-surrounded valet rotunda to a stained glass-strewn patisserie, Aria is opulent to say the least. The centerpiece of the $8.4 billion CityCenter project, Aria opened back in 2009 to a star-studded VIP reception and grand fireworks display.

Aria is the centerpiece of the $8.4 billion CityCenter project.
Glenn Nowak, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ School of Architecture, said this move from overly themed resorts to modern architectural marvels is thanks in part to the tourists.

“Las Vegas is seeing more discerning travelers interested in more than what old Vegas offered,” said Nowak, who heads up the college’s hospitality design concentration. “Aria’s design speaks to a more sophisticated tourist.”

The economic downturn of 2008 taught Las Vegas a few lessons. One of the most important is that tourists are looking for more than just gambling and showgirls. Aria is the poster child of post-recession Vegas. The megaresort offers guests more than $40 million worth of public art scattered across the grounds, such as “The Big Edge,” a unique sculpture made of canoes located near the main entrance. Interested visitors can download a mobile walking guide to Aria's public artwork. Another of the property's popular attractions, The Shops at Crystals is a 500,000-square-foot, high-end shopping mall, boasting such retailers as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany & Co.

"The Big Edge" is an assemblage of more than 200 boats.
"We always imagined it to be the epicenter," Greg Jones, who led the Pelli Clark Pelli Architects design team in the development of Aria, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal back in 2009. "We wanted to make sure it was unique, not only in the design but how it interacts with the rest of CityCenter."

Arguably the most unique offering by CityCenter and its parent company, MGM Resorts, is the newly opened park next door. Aptly named “The Park,” this public space is an interesting development considering the lack of public parks in the area and the high premium placed on space along the Strip, but one that falls in line with urban planning best practices.

“When you’re stitching together urban fabric, you can’t use the same stitch over and over again,” Nowak said. “[The Park] is a more inclusive kind of space… like a front yard for some of these properties.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

#TBT to Vegas Shows Take Two

Las Vegas is known as the entertainment capital of the world, thanks to its unparalleled glitz and glamour. From Elvis to the Rat Pack, top acts have attracted audiences from around the world. While Vegas has evolved to include many popular new shows, its glorious past hasn’t been forgotten. Take a trip back to vintage Vegas with the following shows:

The days of classic Vegas production shows are alive and well on the Strip.
VEGAS! The Show
This amazing show features more than 40 performers re-creating old-school Vegas with hits from iconic artists of the past, including the Rat Pack. Neon signs from grand Las Vegas properties serve as a backdrop for showgirls and other performers. VEGAS! The Show perform s at 7 and 9 inside the Saxe Theater within the Miracle Mile at Planet Hollywood.

All Shook Up – Tribute to the King
An Elvis Presley tribute artist brings the King’s hits back to the Vegas stage. Backed by a live band and performing only hits made famous by Elvis, this show is f
or fans who remember the King. For those who are too young to have experienced Elvis on stage, this show brings new life and appreciation to his music. Catch All Shook Up at 6 nightly at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

The Rat Pack is Back!
When you think of old-school Vegas, chances are you think of the Rat Pack. This tribute show features four talented performers portraying Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop accompanied by a live band. As an added treat, a Marilyn Monroe performer will re-create her breathy rendition of “Happy Birthday,” singing it to a lucky member of the audience. The show is performed in the Copa Room at Tuscany Suites and Casino Las Vegas nightly at 7:30.

Legends in Concert
Tribute artists interpret the stars of the past and present, bringing their unique music and mannerisms to the stage. Rather than simply lip synching, the performers actually sing hits ranging from Tom Jones to Michael Jackson to Christina Aguilera. Featuring hits from The Temptations, The Beatles, Cher, Shania Twain, and Tina Turner, you’ll love the music of Legends in Concert. Each show is unique, featuring four or more performers each night. This show is performed nightly at Flamingo
Las Vegas Casino and Hotel.

To find out more ways to experience vintage Vegas, contact Vegas We’ll help you find the best shows to relive the old-style glitz that made Vegas famous!

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Rocky Beginnings of Las Vegas' First Resort

Behind the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip’s oldest casino lies a sordid past. Organized crime, unrequited love, corruption and half-truths make up the history of Flamingo. To this day, it’s not entirely certain what transpired more than 70 years ago.

Flamingo is the oldest casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, a mobster who made a fortune on a popular horse racing publication, moved to Las Vegas in 1945 and quickly made a splash by turning a nearly $200,000 profit flipping El Cortez, one of the first casinos to crop up in the desert. Thanks to unfriendly city officials suspicious of his criminal past, Siegel decided to develop a new property just outside the city limits. He approached Billy Wilkerson and convinced the Sunset Strip mogul to sell him and his “associates” a majority stake in the project that would become Flamingo Hotel and Casino.

The origins of the property’s iconic name are oft debated. Legend has it that Siegel named the property after his mistress Virginia Hill, a longtime courier for the mob. She had long, slender legs and lovely red hair. He called her his fabulous flamingo. Others claim that Siegel, who owned a stake in the Hialeah Park Race Track, saw the population of flamingos who frequented the track a good omen. Still others say the name was given by Wilkerson from the get-go.

Flamingo is home to a flock of nearly a dozen Chilean flamingos.
By 1946, Siegel’s new project had fallen severely behind schedule, and the budget had soared from an estimated $1 million to more than $6 million. In hopes of securing money to fund the hotel’s completion, a grand opening was scheduled for Dec. 26 of that year. Jimmy Durante was the headlining act. Siegel invited a number of Hollywood stars. However, terrible weather prevented many guests from making the trip. There was not enough time for the dealers to be properly trained, so the guests who did show won. They won big, taking Siegel for more than $300,000. The hotel rooms had yet to be finished, so the gamblers took their money and left. The opening was a flop and the Flamingo was closed.

The resort finally reopened March of 1947 and began to turn a profit. It wasn’t enough to save the life of Siegel. The mobster turned hotelier was found murdered in Hill’s Beverly Hills apartment. The same day of Siegel’s murder (within minutes, according to the legend), his associates announced their takeover of the Flamingo from the casino floor. Since 2005, the property has been controlled by Caesars Entertainment Corporation, which also owns eight other Strip properties and more than two dozen casinos around the world.

Hear more stories from Sin City's early days by booking a Las Vegas tour from

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

From Rackets to Resorts

From contract killer to bookmaking kingpin to Las Vegas resort developer, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel took a roller coaster ride to the top before meeting an untimely demise at the hands of those who brought him there. Widely considered the father of modern day Las Vegas, Bugsy’s indelible mark on Sin City is still prevalent today. Nightclubs, showgirls, spas, upscale restaurants and golf courses were all introduced to the Mojave Desert by Bugsy. His dream to create a European resort-style oasis in the desert has since blossomed into to something of which he could have only dreamed.

Siegel memorial honoring the casino's developer
Memorial plaque honoring Benjamin Siegel stands in the casino's courtyard.
Born Feb. 28, 1906, in Brooklyn, New York, Siegel fell into organized crime that infested his childhood home. Extortion, gambling and bootlegging propelled Siegel to the top ranks of Charles “Lucky” Luciano’s gang. He went on to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the mob through bookmaking rackets. In an effort to expand this business nationwide, Luciano sent Siegel to the West Coast.

By 1945, Siegel bought and sold one of Las Vegas’ first casinos, El Cortez, for a nearly $200,000 profit. He went in with Sunset Strip mogul Billy Wilkerson to build the Flamingo, approximately 2 miles south of the Las Vegas city limits and away from the prying eyes of city officials. With a lavish showroom, plush rooms, pool, spa and plenty of glitz, Siegel’s Flamingo laid the foundation for the $6 billion-a-year machine that is the Las Vegas Strip.

The courtyard of the Flamingo Casino
Flamingo statues adorn the fountains throughout the Las Vegas Strip casino.
Siegel’s mistress Virginia Hill, a longtime courier for the mob and allegedly the inspiration for the property’s name, stuck by the gangster through a series of unfortunate events in the run up to the Flamingo’s opening. Construction materials and workers were in short supply due to the country’s involvement in World War II. Flamingo’s budget and construction schedule ballooned. In order to fund the remaining work, Siegel held a grand opening gala that was botched from the start. Frustrated with these events and convinced that Siegel was skimming money from the project, the East Coast mob decided to “part ways” with their man in the desert.

A little more than two months after the Flamingo’s opening, Siegel was found shot dead in Hill’s Beverly Hills apartment on June 20, 1947. That same day, Siegel’s fellow mobsters walked onto the Flamingo casino floor and announced their takeover. Hill left for Paris only ten days prior to Siegel’s murder. His death remains a mystery, and the extent of the mob and Hill’s involvement is unknown.

For more compelling stories on the mob’s influence over Las Vegas’ early days, book a tour of the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas.


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